Leading local trainer Brett Bellamy remains upbeat about his prospects at today’s Coffs Harbour meeting despite copping more than his share of bad luck with barrier draws for several of his runners.
Bellamy will saddle up nine runners at the eight-race meeting, including Firing Line and Secrets No More, who drew gates 16 and 15 respectively in the Class 1 Hcp (1300m), and Zuccherina, who fared even worse with gate 17 in the Benchmark 55 Hcp (1600m).
He also copped some tricky draws for a couple of his other runners - Spanish Steps (gate nine) in the 3YO Maiden Plate (1300m), Gohardonhula (gate eight) and Mon Cheri (gate 11) in the Maiden Hcp (1000m), and Rispetta (gate eight) in the Class 3 Hcp (1400m).
“I’ve been in this game too long to let barrier draws worry me that much,” said Bellamy. “I’ve done my job and a now it’s up to the jockeys.
“One thing I will say about the Coffs Harbour track though is that they can win here from any draw, so I certainly haven’t given up on my chances. If my horses get a fair slice of luck in the run they can still run well.”
Bellamy said last-start winner Firing Line has the gate speed to get across from his outside gate. Formerly trained in Victoria, Firing Line won first-up for Bellamy over 1006m at Port Macquarie on November 28 and steps up to 1300m on Friday.
Stablemate Secrets No More, who runs in the same race, gets back in her races. She won a Ballina Maiden two runs back then stepped up to a Class 3 at Port Macquarie last time over 1206m on November 28, finishing on well from back in the field to finish third to Menneke Belle and Libertine Miss
“Firing Line does have good gate speed and also will be ridden by Raymond Spokes who’s riding in great form, knows every inch of the Coffs Harbour track, knows this horse really well and knows the opposition he’s up against as well,” said Bellamy.
Bellamy has booked 2kg-claiming apprentice Chloe Baker for Zuccherina in the Benchmark 55 Hcp and believes the mare will appreciate getting back to her home track, the scene of her most recent win – also a Benchmark 55 over the 1600m – five runs back on October 13 when she came from well back in the field to win comfortably by almost two lengths.
“She was ridden by Doyun Jung that day and if Chloe rides her the same way she can still be right in the finish,” he said.
Bellamy expects Gohardonhula to also run well in Maiden Hcp (1000m) but had hoped to get a clearer guide to his chances from Wednesday’s Gold Coast meeting.
Gohardonhula resumed at Ballina on November 27, running second to the Liam Birchley-trained first-starter Piper Boy over 1010m.
“His first-up run behind Piper Boy was good. Liam had Piper Boy down run at the Gold Coast on Wednesday and I was keen to see how he would run there (in a Class 2) to get a strong gauge on my horse’s prospect, but he scratched him,” said a disappointed Bellamy.
The rail for today’s meeting is in the true position and the track is rated a Good 4.